Friends, I've been having a dialog with a fellow about about human nature. He's been expressing the common notion that human nature is the cause of warfare, destructive competition, etc. etc. He makes the usual arguments, interpreting Darwin's results as showing that we live in a dog-eat-dog competitive world. Below, I'd like to share some thoughts that I sent to him in our latest exchange. --- I've been pleased with the responses coming in from early readers of ETM. Most have been not only positive, but enthusiastic. I was particularly happy to receive this mini-review from William Engdahl, whose research and writing I have considerable respect for: Richard Moore's 'Escaping the Matrix' is one of the most exciting books of ideas I've read in many years. I couldn't put it down until I'd finished. He goes to the root cause of the cancer that is destroying life on our planet today. He does so with a simplicity that is deceptive and an argumentation accessible to anyone of a right mind. His proposals for escaping the Matrix are equally simple and at the same time profound. This is a book that needs to be widely read and debated. -F William Engdahl, author, A Century of War, Pluto Press. --- I've been burning the midnight oil upgrading our websites, trying to make them a bit more professional looking, and providing the kind of information reviewers, readers, and potential readers might want to see. Please let me know if you have feedback or suggestions. The URLs are: http://EscapingTheMatrix.org http://cyberjournal.org This page in particular you might interesting: http://cyberjournal.org/rkm/rkm_bio.html --- Who bombed the mosque and started all the sectarian fighting, and why? Check out these two excellent articles: Ghali Hassan: Iraq: Occupation and Sectarianism http://cyberjournal.org/cj/show_archives/?id=1042&batch=20&lists=newslog Dahr Jamail: re/mosque bombing: Who Benefits? http://cyberjournal.org/cj/show_archives/?id='1043'&batch='20'&lists='newslog' best regards, rkm -------------------------------------------------------- > Richard Moore for example says that Darwin's proposal that the Fittest Survive was wrong, and that the 'Survival of the fittest' idea is a 'myth'. Richard says that Hobbes was also wrong with his "short & brutal" characterization of pre-civilized societies. i've thought more about that exchange. As regards how nature works - competition vs. cooperation - it is important to take a look at some of the 'new biology' literature, such as BIOLOGY REVISIONED, by Willis Harman and Elisabet Sahtouris. Competition and cooperation interweave, both operative, both important. This is real science, not just theorizing. And it is very relevant to 'how we think'. The question of human aggressiveness is a deep one. By observing other primates, all of which seem have a hierarchical social structure, with an alpha male in charge, we can be sure that's how we were as we were evolving toward humanness. We might also note that the alpha male's main job is to protect the group, and he does it with gusto, putting himself in the face of attackers. He doesn't just exploit his underlings for all he can get. This is a 'cooperative' aspect of the scenario. Furthermore, primate bands don't 'conquer' other bands. They have border skirmishes, and defend their territory, which is very important in keeping the species in harmony with the carrying capacity of the environment. When we watch young boys at play, and fighting with each other, with sometimes violent tempers, we can see that the aggressive, competitive streak has never left our genes. Our genetics has changed only slightly from that of Chimps, and the part that has changed isn't directly related to aggressiveness. In this sense, I understand and agree with your views on 'fittest'. What did change genetically as we became human is in the cognitive realm: our ability to look at what we're doing, communicate about it in depth with our fellow band members, and discuss how we might want to do things differently. Chimps can't do that; each generation behaves just like the previous. As a consequence, everything we have learned about indigenous, pre-agricultural societies indicates that they have always been egalitarian and cooperative internally, though they defend their territories like other primates. We need to keep in mind that we've been FULLY human for about 100,000 years; a baby from back then, if adopted into a modern family at birth, would be just like the rest of us, and could go to college and get a PhD (depending on individual variations of course). By at least 100,000 years ago we rejected the alpha-male social structure; we developed more sensible cultures, and passed them on to each new generation, much like we educate our young today. Our further evolution was occurring in the cultural realm, while our genetics remained relatively static. More recently, it is our technology that is evolving most rapidly, with our cultural evolution being relatively static (so far). Hunter-gatherer bands are always relatively small, and there's not enough economic excess to support a dominant leader who refuses to do his share. This is one reason the egalitarian structures maintained themselves for nearly 100,000 years. When agriculture came along, the economics changed drastically. It became possible for an aggressive clique, or an invading tribe, to dominate the band, take control of the agricultural production and storehouses, and spend their own time sharpening their swords and keeping the peasants in the fields. This is what Eisler means by 'dominator cultures'. For the previous 100,000 years we had 'partnership cultures'. In both kinds of cultures, each new child is socialized into the culture. In partnership cultures, the child is taught to limit its aggressive tendencies sufficiently to conform to the norms of the culture. There are always sanctions for those who don't learn, with banishment being one of the heaviest. In a dominator culture, the child is taught different lessons. The genetic tendency toward aggressiveness is always there - and always will be there - and if the culture encourages it, it will blossom. American culture is particularly strongly oriented towards encouraging competition in its youth, beginning in our schools.More so than in Britain or Europe. These are the considerations that lead me to say that it is our cultures we need to change, not our natures. We can't change our natures, not unless you want to get into genetic engineering. And there's nothing wrong with our natures; we had the wisdom to develop and maintain partnership cultures for thousands of years. When we grow up in a more enlightened culture, we tend to develop the more enlightened aspects of our selves. In that sense, if we change our cultures, we do in effect change our exhibited 'natures' as well. Native Americans were noted for their deep integrity and wisdom. That wasn't because of different genes. My proposals about harmonization, beginning in a community context, are aimed at enabling a cultural transformation. People who go through these kinds of processes do tend to come out 'changed' in various ways at a personal level. Most important, from a political perspective, people shift their understanding regarding the potential power of mutual understanding and cooperation, and the pointlessness of divisiveness and destructive competition. -- -------------------------------------------------------- http://cyberjournal.org "Escaping the Matrix: how We the People can change the world": http://escapingthematrix.org/ Posting archives: http://cyberjournal.org/cj/show_archives/?date=01Jan2007&lists=newslog Subscribe to low-traffic list: mailto:•••@••.••• ___________________________________________ In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.